We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Our Recent Essays Behind the Front Page
Monday, January 28. 2008
Orwell would be proud. Steyn in the NY Sun:
What role do biofuels play in rising food prices? CSM.
Bill Clinton: Asset or liability?
Media complicity with Hamas propaganda
Is the FCC obsolete?
What's with the French guy who lost 7 billion?
"Is there a doctor in the house...who hasn't been sued?"
How would China attack the US? Military Times
Brit National Health: Don't treat the old or unhealthy.
Bill Kristol in the NY Times sounds like our piece yesterday:
Posted by The News Junkie in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 06:02 | Comment (1) | Trackbacks (0)
Sunday, January 27. 2008
I don't know the Clintons. Never met them, and would not presume to speculate about their personal issues - other than the patterns of behavior which have been made public over the years, and now the repeat of their familiar patterns in the primaries. (Who is really running?, I wonder. It's kind of strange, isn't it?)
So I cannot glibly claim that they are sociopaths, or narcissists, or anything. They might just be old-fashioned, take-no-prisoners, slippery money- and ego- and power-hungry pols with typical politician holes in their superegos (assuming they have functioning superegos). If I were a left-wing Dem, that's probably what I would say in their defence: "National politics is hardball. Everybody does it."
Everything I read in the news illustrates their ruthless and "uncaring" approach to political warfare, but even I would never have expected them to play the race card against a fellow Dem. They have now branded Obama as the "black candidate," and now clearly want him to return, repentantly, to the plantation with Jesse and Al...or they will let the hounds loose to chase him down in the swamp. Mr. Charlie, the boss-man, has warned him.
Their protestations of virtue and "caring" are, and always have been, cloying to me, and so obviously manipulative. They give every impression of having replaced personal conscience with a political pseudo-caring for others - as if the latter could redeem the weakness of the former. (As readers know, I do not want a "caring" politician. I am an American, and can take care of the caring myself, thank you, without a sovereign or a nanny.)
What I do notice, now that Obama has a tiny bit of traction, is how quickly those who do know them and have worked with them are leaving the ship. Already Kerry has, and Gore would if he had the nerve. This tells me that their past loyalty was based on fear and/or convenience - nothing more. These people know what the Clintons are really like.
I suspect that Obama's success has offered a chance for many to come out of the closet and make public the fact that few in politics really care for, trust, or wish to work with these people very much. That says more than any opinion of mine can say. Watch for a flood of Obama endorsements, and watch Sidney Blumenthal taking down their names in his little black book.
Is the MSM-manufactured and -supported Clinton veneer finally cracking? Maybe, but the MSM will plaster it over when the time comes, followed by a fresh coat of pinko paint. (I think it would be a kick to run against the Clintons, but not to run against Obama: he seems likeable and approachable and decent, despite being just another socialist Dem who would like to run my life for me.)
A new psychiatric disorder: PNYTTSD
When government runs medical care. Captain Ed
Prof. B. wonders about Romney
Those idealistic students...except when it comes to their personal comfort. For Gaia, they should turn off all of the heat, too, and let them discover what academic gowns were really for.
What the "banality of evil" meant to Arendt. Norm
Filed in triplicate: Iowahawk takes on the Alberta Human Rights Commission
What is Davos drinking? Kudlow
"Poor" and fat. Insty. Such "problems" we have in America.
The good side of guns in schools. Kim
Celibate marriages. Althouse
"Two Cheers for Wall St." The Greed narrative vs. the Ecology narrative. David Brooks. A quote:
From Mediocracy, on compulsory organ "donation":
Photo: Drink Polar Pilsner. From Theo
By means of glasses, hotbeds, and hotwalls, very good grapes can be raised in Scotland, and very good wine too can be made of them at about thirty times the expense for which at least equally good can be brought from foreign countries. Would it be a reasonable law to prohibit the importation of all foreign wines, merely to encourage the making of claret and burgundy in Scotland?
It is the maxim of every prudent master of a family, never to attempt to make at home what it will cost him more to make than to buy...What is prudence in the conduct of every private family, can scarce be folly in that of a great kingdom. If a foreign country can supply us with a commodity cheaper than we ourselves can make it, better buy it of them with some part of the produce of our own industry, employed in a way in which we have some advantage.
Both from The Wealth of Nations, Book IV
12Now when Jesus heard that John had been arrested, he withdrew to Galilee. 13He left Nazareth and made his home in Capernaum by the sea, in the territory of Zebulun and Naphtali, 14so that what had been spoken through the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled: 15“Land of Zebulun, land of Naphtali, on the road by the sea, across the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles— 16the people who sat in darkness have seen a great light, and for those who sat in the region and shadow of death light has dawned.” 17From that time Jesus began to proclaim, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.”
18As he walked by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea—for they were fishermen. 19And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fish for people.” 20Immediately they left their nets and followed him. 21As he went from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John, in the boat with their father Zebedee, mending their nets, and he called them. 22Immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed him.
23Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and curing every disease and every sickness among the people.
Saturday, January 26. 2008
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 16:35 | Comments (9) | Trackbacks (0)
The Jim Kweskin Jug Band with Maria (Midnight at the Oasis) Muldaur, from sometime in the 60s during the Folk Revival in some "basket house" in Greenwich Village. Sorry - the recording is incomplete but still gives a good feel for what it was like.
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 15:23 | Comments (2) | Trackbacks (0)
Powerline takes another look at McCain.
Hey, Barrister. Here's a nice humidor.
Evita. Is it really OK for Hillary to be running?
"Illegal Immigration: Republicans want cheap workers, Democrats want poor voters." Gates of Vienna
All guys know that good good marriage requires a lady who is interested in being a good wife. As they say, "Happy wife, happy life."
Here's the (probably apocryphal - thanks, readers) old version of the Good Wife's Guide, plus "Good Wife's Guide, Revised."
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 12:25 | Comments (28) | Trackbacks (0)
Photo is a rendition of SpaceShip 2, the tourist spaceship (underslung in center) now under construction, with the mothership which carries it to 50,000 feet.
Posted by Gwynnie in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 12:09 | Comments (2) | Trackbacks (0)
Posted by Gwynnie in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 11:57 | Comments (5) | Trackbacks (0)
A good discussion by Donald Douglas: Why Conservatives should be open to McCain. There is a good comment there, too.
Then hit "Main" and see a couple more of his newest pieces on McCain's electability. (No need to rant about McCain in the comments. Douglas is a thoughtful guy, so it's worth thinking about.)
Friday, January 25. 2008
A European pal just brough me a box of the Pleiades 44 ring size smokes today, on his way here from Paris. We looked 'em up, and see that JR has them, far cheaper than they can be bought in Euroland.
A darn pleasant smoke. I am on my second one - just to make sure they're good - with a glass or three of ancient port.
Posted by The Barrister in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 22:44 | Comments (4) | Trackbacks (0)
Like Tangled Web, who found this one, we also would like to dedicate this 1980 Blondies tune, with Deborah Harry, to Lord Algore to celebrate the Great Warmening Crisis. Y'all are old enuf to remember this song, aren't ya? No?
Hey, Debbie - get in line. Or should I say get in the queue? Everybody I know wants a good, well-trained, cigar-chompin' and house-broken bird dog to spend the night with to warm their feet at the end of the bed and to dutifully fetch stuff, when wanted.
It's every gal's dream, ain't it? Or am I outdated? ...If I am, do not tell me: I will have you killed by the Maggie's posse.
Posted by Bird Dog in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 15:01 | Comments (8) | Trackbacks (0)
Sometimes it is good to consider some of the most familiar things in life that we take for granted, like the Chickadee.
This cute little non-migratory northern bird is known to everyone, especially from his wintertime visits to bird feeders, where he prefers sunflower seeds. He can be easily habituated to take seeds off of your palm if you stand still and have some patience.
Most of the time, though, he eats bugs and bug larvae by foraging through leaves and bark in woods and woodland edges. How often do you see them in the summertime? They are still here. They will nest in any little secret hiding place or tree-hole, and will use small nest-boxes. They are loyal to their mates, probably 'til death.
They are known to hide food for later, and supposedly are able to find it. Their typical "chickadee-dee-dee" call is replaced, in springtime, with a sweet "fee-beeee" which we will begin to hear as the days grow longer.
All systems either of preference or of restraint, therefore, being thus completely taken away, the obvious and simple system of natural liberty establishes itself of its own accord. Every man...is left perfectly free to pursue his own interest in his own way.... The sovereign is completely discharged from a duty, in the attempting to perform which he must always be exposed to innumerable delusions, and for the proper performance of which no human wisdom or knowledge could ever be sufficient; the duty of superintending the industry of private people, and of directing it towards the employments most suitable to the interest of the society.
Adam Smith (The Wealth of Nations)
A clear explanation of climate modeling and the hypothetical assumptions of the models, from Coyote:
Why is Tide so popular? (read the comments)
A Prof thinks we should stop teaching fractions. How does saying "Add 0.75 tsp. salt" improve anybody's life? Can you imagine saying "Cut the dowel 14.875 inches?" Why are so many professors foolish when it comes to real life? Or how about "Add 0.3333... (how many threes do you want to go out?) cups of corn meal." h/t, Wizbang
An objective look at Kinsey's work. AVI
The Clinton tag-team campaign. Is Bill running for President again? You bet he is.
Electile dysfunction. It's funny, but I don't really like the premise: there is something weird about a person getting excited about a politician.
Back in the saddle: US Border guards. That would be a fun job.
Thursday, January 24. 2008
Bill Gates desperately wants the cool kids to like him. And he's decided that kissing some one-world socialist claptrap tail is worth a shot. He went to Davos, Switzerland and embarrassed himself by announcing Compassionate Conservativism by another name is something he just made up. He can't become popular with the faux-leftist set because he doesn't know how to make useless $3000 laptops for the same people that said they wanted to look at the New York Times on their $600 cellphone last week. He doesn't have the knack or the steel rimmed glasses for it, I guess. I wonder if he can grow a beard yet, never mind a perpetual three day one. The cool kids love Steve Jobs because he's a rapacious loser. Bill's a rich generous winner. They hate that.
Whatever. Bill's decided now that he's got so much money that he feels guilty about it, it's time to overturn the board for everybody else that might like to make a living--or a killing--in business. He wants what he terms "Creative Capitalism' now, not the icky kind he pictures in his cubicle rat worldview that's all messy and filled with Bhopal smokestacks and little brown babies with distended bellies on late night TV commercials. They're still on late night TV, aren't they? Or did Sally Struthers eat them all?
Heh. A fat person that used to look sexy pointing at hard-up people and saying "Send me money, or the kid gets it... I mean, they don't get it." That's the Davos ethos in a nutshell. Sally could get a flurry running for president on that platform, too.Here's Gates:
"We have to find a way to make the aspects of capitalism that serve wealthier people serve poorer people as well," he told an auditorium packed with corporate leaders and politicians at the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum. "I like to call this idea creative capitalism."Look, I'm sure that wiser people than I'll ever be will open the intellectual window on this gaseous economic exhalation and let some fresh air in. That's a lot of work. I'm lazy. I just want to point out two things to Mr Smarty Zune Pants.
Continue reading "The Binary Man's Burden"
It begins like this:
A blogger's duck hunt, here.
The political reformers of the 1960s brought us the modern primary system along with a vast array of grassroots- and foundation-supported activist political organizations. It was all intended to usher in a time of increased political engagement based on values and ideology rather than simple party power and patronage supported by the supposed, if imaginary, "pocketbook voters" of the past.
It was to be a new dawn for democratic politics - think about Common Cause - and it essentially replaced the smoke-filled back rooms full of shrewd old politicos with the money-people of today that purists, but few money-hungry candidates, now bitch about.
Jon Shields, in In Praise of the Values Voter in The Wilson Quarterly, explains that the (largely) left-tilted activists of the time believed that an ideological intensification of the parties, with an increase of "values voters," would culminate in the grand debate between liberals and socialists, which the socialists would win - leaving nobody motivated to build new businesses or to create new, profitable ideas.
It didn't turn out that way, because, while the Left took over the Dem Party which embraced their new values, the gradual rise of a mainstream Conservative America arose as a powerful force with its own values. Shields explains the disenchantment of the Left with "values voters:"
Read the whole thing. I think it explains a lot. Conservative-Libertarian as I am, I think I would prefer to see less ideological parties. (I'd also offer the observation that generally, as one moves from the national stage to more local politics, ideology becomes less prominent and less important. In my town, you could not tell who is Dem or Repub from our discussions of the school budget: they are all trying to figure out ways to extract more money from State and Federal grants.)
Image: No "values" there: you can read about the history of NYC's Tammany Hall here.
"Hallelujah (I'm ready) I'm ready (Hallelujah)
"Hallelujah, I'm Ready To Go," a old bluegrass traditional sung by the likes of Bill Monroe and Ricky Skaggs. Dylan opened his concerts with this tune often in 1999, as below.